Performance Parents

Archery GB performance parents. All parents and carers want to see their young people doing well in the sport they love. Here’s some ways you can help your child or young person enjoy their sport and achieve their goals.

All parents and carers want to see their young people doing well in the sport they love

Here’s some ways you can help your child or young person enjoy their sport and achieve their goals.



  • Ensure athletes are physically prepared for competition. E.g. they arrive on time, well fed, and with the equipment they need
  • Provide practice information regarding nutrition and warming up. But, do not become repetitive
  • Recommend and reinforce good pre-competition habits BUT do not try and do everything for your child
  • Cater to child’s needs for mental preparation. E.g. Identify if children like talking or quiet before competitions, give your child time and space to be alone if required
  • Remind your child you will be proud of them whatever the outcome
  • Emphasise effort, attitude, and enjoyment
  • Keep relaxed and calm before the competition

Do not:

  • Talk extensively about the upcoming competition
  • Try to change your child’s agreed goals for that event
  • Make any comments that refer to the outcome of the child’s performance rather than concentrating on the immediate event
  • Provide technical and tactical advice if you don’t have knowledge or if your child has a coach to support in this regard
  • Repeatedly tell your child to warm-up or get ready for their competition
  • Place excessive emphasis upon the outcome

During competition


  • Attend competitions to show your interest (unless your child asks you not to)
  • Behave in accordance with the rules and etiquette of the sport
  • Match all non-verbal behaviours (e.g. gestures, facial expressions) with verbal support
  • Maintain a positive tone and body language
  • Keep support focused on effort and enjoyment rather than performances/outcomes
  • Maintain control over positive and negative emotions, do not get too involved
  • Shout to officials only if children are in danger
  • Praise good performances and provide encouragement after poor skill execution
  • Be empathetic and consider the feelings of all children before providing encouragement
  • If advice is requested, give it when children are not on the line

Do not:

  • Make reference to scores if not an aspect of your child’s agreed goals for that event
  • Criticise your child or their opponent
  • Display negative responses during competition. For example, using a negative tone to give feedback
  • Coach in any form, even “coaching-like” comments, unless requested by your child
  • Argue with officials, coaches, or other parents
  • Contradict coach instructions
  • Disrupt children so they lose concentration during competition
  • Change your behaviour or walk away if the competition is close or your child starts losing
  • Embarrass your child by providing over the top support
  • Forget that comments made in tents are public comments

Post competition


  • Only talk about the competition if your child wants to
  • Comment on effort and attitude rather than the result
  • Give positive feedback first
  • Keep feedback positive but realistic. That is, identify the good parts of the performance but do not exaggerate or be overly positive when the performance was not good
  • Keep feedback simple and to a minimum after a loss
  • Be realistic about the outcome rather than finding excuses for the result
  • Wait until children are ready to receive feedback
  • Encourage your child to reflect on their performance by writing down their thoughts if they would prefer not to discuss it face to face
  • Support your child and keep your behaviour consistent whether they achieved their goals or not
  • Give your child space if needed
  • Encourage your child for the next competition and boost their confidence if they have lost
  • Ensure your child has appropriate food and drink available after a competition

Do not:

  • Criticise for performance-related issues
  • Talk about the competition UNTIL your child wants to
  • Focus on the negative aspects of a performance
  • Blame outcomes on others. For example, if a child had a bad competition do not try and blame it on the judge or other external factors
  • Point out or continually discuss your child’s mistakes
  • Tell players they did something well when they didn’t
  • Have a negative attitude after your child has lost

 Remember these are general guidelines only

Each athlete is an individual and your approach may need to be altered to your child.

Derived from: Holt, N. L., & Knight, C. J. (2014). Parenting in Youth Sport: From Research to Practice. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

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